Phone Interviews are the first screening process some employers use to separate the “men from the boys” with candidates. Like in any business, time is money, so companies use short phone interviews so they don’t waste their time (or yours) by bringing in every candidate that they think may or may not be qualified. If they can cut candidates before they even step in the building that will save them time and ultimately money. With that being said, that doesn’t mean you should take these interviews lightly. Your objective during this phone interview is to get your foot in the door, so you can get yourself into their company for a face-to-face interview.
While there are some companies that use phone interviews as an only means of interviewing candidates (usually for a telecommuting position); informal, screening phone interviews are what are being analyzed here. Here are a few tips to get that official interview:
This may seem obvious to some, but a lot of people take these phone calls too informally and just wing it. You should be just as prepared for this phone call, as you would be for a regular interview. That means researching the company, preparing your answers to commonly asked interview questions, make sure you understand the job description and your potential responsibilities, and have follow-up questions for the interviewer. If it seems like you aren’t prepared and not taking it seriously, then it doesn’t seem like you will be taking that job seriously.
Put yourself in the Right Environment
You don’t want to be talking on the phone during a phone interview while there is a lot of loud background noise like a sporting event, outside on a windy day, or while your kids are screaming. Driving in your car on an interview, or even being in a car, is a no-no as well because it muffles your voice. It is best to make sure you are in a quiet room by yourself with no distractions so you can focus and answer adequately. It is also recommended that you stand up, but do not pace back and forth, so that it projects your voice better and you’ll come across as a good communicator.
Treat it like any other Interview
This is the main theme of the article here. As mentioned early, these interviews shouldn’t be taken lightly, so there should be nothing different for this interview other than not seeing them in person and not having to wear a suit and tie. You still have to be professional, cordial, and articulate. If you have a phone interview scheduled from 1:00-1:15, make sure your schedule is cleared for that allotted time. Don’t take another call while on the phone, put them on hold, or hang up; because this is something you can’t do in an in-person interview.